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Sires

I like mysteries (particularly British ones, historical fiction and nonfiction, science fiction and fantasy.

Chesapeake, OH, United States | Member Since 2004

ratings
153
REVIEWS
80
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
32
HELPFUL VOTES
238

  • Midnight Riot: Peter Grant, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Ben Aaronovitch
    • Narrated By Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1119)
    Performance
    (1010)
    Story
    (1009)

    Probationary constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London's Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he'll face is a paper cut. But Peter's prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter's ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale....

    Nancy J says: "I LOVE this Book!"
    "Urban Fantasy Fans-- Buy This Book, It's Great"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Originally, I wrote this review for the Vine program on Amazon. So I didn't pay for the book. Then I ran down a copy of the CD audio book through a friend. I fell in like with the narrator. Kobna Holdbrook-Smith has a fantastic voice for this book-- actually he has a lovely voice for reading anything. I cannot imagine Peter Grant being read by any other narrator. He also does a great job with the other characters. I purchased this from audible because I have not actually paid for a copy of this book until now and because I wanted Audible to keep bringing good audio books like this to the US.

    Ok, ignore any references to grown up Harry Potter. Yes, the hero does end up apprenticed to a wizard but that's where the resemblance ends. Peter Grant starts as a probationary constable in the London Metropolitan Police. His father is a drunken jazz musician while his mother cleans offices for a living. Peter wants to become a detective on the murder squad. However, Peter is not the ideal candidate for any of the high profile squads. He is though the ideal candidate for one very obscure squad with a total membership of 2, counting Peter.

    Things I liked-- Aaronovitch writes about a multicultural London. Peter is mixed race and writes about his experiences with a serio-comic turn that I really like. He's smart, quick thinking and funny so reading from his viewpoint is a pleasant. Dark humor punctuates bouts of well described action.

    The book actually comes across as a police procedural, even as Peter deals with issues like a dispute between Father Thames and Mother Thames-- which gives the book it's British title, Rivers of London. I like that title better any way..

    The next one is available on Audible already. I hope other readers enjoy this book as much as I have.

    25 of 29 people found this review helpful
  • Indexing

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Seanan McGuire
    • Narrated By Mary Robinette Kowal
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (198)
    Performance
    (187)
    Story
    (187)

    For most people, the story of their lives is just that: the accumulation of time, encounters, and actions into a cohesive whole. But for an unfortunate few, that day-to-day existence is affected - perhaps infected is a better word - by memetic incursion: where fairy tale narratives become reality, often with disastrous results.

    Erin - Audible says: "The X-Files meets Grimm meets Law and Order"
    "Episodic Due to Original Publication as a Serial"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had known that this was originally sold on Amazon as part of their serial program. I wasn't interested because I don't like getting stories in dibs and dabs. I want it all at once. So when I saw the Audible version at a good price I bought it. (Hope no one in marketing decides that the world wants serial Audible books.)

    The serial structure though as made this into an episodic story as the author tried to make each segment a satisfying story while encouraging readers to keep going. I'm not sure she was successful with this although I did enjoy listening to the entire book. It just felt a bit choppy and she ended up introducing a potentially important character near the conclusion.

    Not my favorite McGuire but worth listening to. Mary Robinette Kowal as usual does an outstanding job with the narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sparrow Hill Road: Ghost Stories, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Seanan McGuire
    • Narrated By Amy Landon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (48)
    Performance
    (45)
    Story
    (45)

    Rose Marshall died in 1952 in Buckley Township, Michigan, run off the road by a man named Bobby Cross - a man who had sold his soul to live forever, and intended to use her death to pay the price of his immortality. Trouble was, he didn't ask Rose what she thought of the idea. It's been more than sixty years since that night, and she's still sixteen, and she's still running. It's been more than sixty years since that night, and she's still sixteen, and she's still running.

    Sires says: "A Series of Interconnected Stories"
    "A Series of Interconnected Stories"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The central character of this book is Rose Marshall. She's also known as the phantom prom date. She was killed in an accident in 1952 and since then has wandered the roads of this world and the spaces between. Sometimes she is helpful, sometimes she is not. But her world and the characters who inhabit her world paint and interesting picture of ghosts in America. While she does at time mention older creatures such as the Black Dog or Hellhound, most of the stories center around the American love of motor driven vehicles and the lore of the road.

    Interesting book that should appeal to those who love urban fantasy. Probably wouldn't particularly appeal to hard core paranormal romance fans though. If you have to have a HEA tread carefully, although there isn't a cliff hanger at the end of this book. It appears to be the first in a series.

    Narrator by Amy Landon. This is the first book by her I have listened to. She doesn't have the verve of Mary Robinette Kowal who reads the October Daye books, but she did keep me interested and entertained with no annoying mispronunciations or verbal tics.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Serpent of Venice: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Christopher Moore
    • Narrated By Euan Morton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (426)
    Performance
    (393)
    Story
    (391)

    Venice, a really long time ago: Three prominent Venetians await their most loathsome and foul dinner guest, the erstwhile envoy from Britain who also happens to be a favorite of the Doge: The rascal-Fool Pocket. This trio of cunning plotters have lured Pocket to a dark dungeon, promising a spirited evening. Their invitation is, of course, bogus. These scoundrels have something far less amusing planned for the man who has consistently foiled their quest for power and wealth. But this Fool is no fool.…

    Pamela says: "Clever, irreverent, and bawdy - the triple crown!"
    "Shakespear, E.A. Poe, and Pocket the Fool"
    Overall
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    Combining plot points and characters from The Cask of Amontillado by Poe, Othello and The Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare, Moore sends Pocket the Fool off on another adventure, this time in medieval Venice. Pocket, nicknamed Fortunato by the Doge starts at a very low point in his life. He is the intended victim of a conspiracy between some merchants of Venice and Iago who want to start a crusade in order to increase their wealth. The last one had worked so well for them. Pocket is so low that he little cares for his life-- until he discovers that this conspiracy is the cause of his misfortunes! Most Heinous F___ery, as he says.

    And the story takes off-- ribald, bawdy and very, very clever as Moore combines characters from all the stories into a fun listen. Christopher Moore is funny when read by oneself, but when Euan Morton does the narrating it is rib splitting and laugh out loud-- if you like Christopher Moore's brand of humor. HIs satire about recent world events is spot on.

    So why not 5 stars across the board? I thought that there were a couple of places where it moved a little slow. Also there were so references back to events and characters in Fool that probably would have confused a new reader. I just took it as an opportunity to listen to Fool again.

    In fact, if you thinking about buying this listen and have not heard Fool you would do yourself a great favor if you listen to Fool first. Both books have entertaining Author Notes read at the end by Christopher Moore himself explaining why he made the choices he did in terms of characters and time periods.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Outcast Dead: Ruth Galloway, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Elly Griffiths
    • Narrated By Clare Corbett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (42)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (35)

    Forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway has excavated a body from the grounds of Norwich Castle, a forbidding edifice that was once a prison. She believes the body may be that of infamous Victorian murderess Jemima Green. Called Mother Hook for her claw-like hand, Jemima was hanged in 1867 for the murder of five children in her care. DCI Harry Nelson has no time for long-dead killers. Immersed in the case of three infants found dead, one after the other, in their King’s Lynn home, he’s convinced that a family member is responsible, though others on his team think differently.

    Pamela Crowder says: "My First Audio Book-I LOVE IT!"
    "Exhumation of a hanged Victorian Child Murderess"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A Victorian Baby Farmer convicted and hanged for the death of a young boy left in her care by his mother is the historic story that Ruth Galloway, forensic physical anthropologist, is dealing with in this, the sixth book in this series. Meanwhile DCI Harry Nelson is investigating the suspicious death of a baby whose parents are both suspects in the child's death.

    Children are a big theme in this book in the series, as they have been in past books in this series. Not only is the skeleton of the hook-handed baby farmer Jemima Green, aka Mother Hook, the basis of a local bogy, she is also set to be the subject of an episode of a sensationalistic television show about women who kill.

    Anyway this is a better than average story read well by Clare Corbett. She is not idiosyncratic in her style and thankfully does a good job with the accent of a historian from the US who adds some variety to the cast. Many of the characters from previous books make an appearance and the overall story arc does advance a bit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Symphony of Echoes: The Chronicles of St Mary's, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Jodi Taylor
    • Narrated By Zara Ramm
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (89)
    Performance
    (74)
    Story
    (73)

    Book Two in the madcap time-travel series based at the St Mary's Institute of Historical Research that seems to be everyone's cup of tea. In the second book in the Chronicles of St Mary's series, Max and the team visit Victorian London in search of Jack the Ripper, witness the murder of Archbishop Thomas A Becket in Canterbury Cathedral, and discover that dodos make a grockling noise when eating cucumber sandwiches.

    twinsmom says: "Read this series! Delightful and original"
    "Enjoyed This Second St Mary's Time Travel Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    After finishing the first book in this series I went ahead and bought the second. The second novel is a bit episodic, but because of the nature of potential time travel paradoxes the various plot lines all come together in a maddening but entertaining conclusion.

    Based in the near future UK, St Mary's Time Travel institution, has a number of traditions, one of which is that a Historian (time traveling variety) gets to choose his or her last jump into the past before their retirement. In this case Maxwell, with her friend Kal Black, have set out to visit the London of Jack the Ripper on the night that Mary Kelly is mutilated and killed. Black is retiring from active duty. That night has a most surprising conclusion. But it's not by any means the conclusion of the book.

    It's not a soft and fluffy book although at points I thought it was quite funny. It also has some pathos (that's where one star disappeared because I thought that particular character was a bit of a red shirt, although the author may redeem herself later considering how convoluted time travel plots can be.) There is also some sheer horror.

    The narrator is, as I thought with regard to the first book, excellent. I'm hoping that she will also be reading the third book when it comes out on Audible.

    I did wonder if the dodo birds were a nod to Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next novels.

    I also bought the third novel on Kindle although it was not yet out on Audible. I would definitely suggest that these books be read in order. Now I'm jonesing for the fourth book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Just One Damned Thing After Another: The Chronicles of St Mary's, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Jodi Taylor
    • Narrated By Zara Ramm
    Overall
    (183)
    Performance
    (162)
    Story
    (160)

    Behind the seemingly innocuous façade of St Mary's, a different kind of historical research is taking place. They don't do 'time-travel' - they 'investigate major historical events in contemporary time'. Maintaining the appearance of harmless eccentrics is not always within their power - especially given their propensity for causing loud explosions when things get too quiet. Meet the disaster-magnets of St Mary's Institute of Historical Research as they ricochet around History.

    Carolyn says: "Book Lovers Nirvana"
    "Action Adventure Time Travel Novel w/ Good Reader"
    Overall
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    In case this bothers a reader: this is a first person point of view story. It also contains some (brief) sex and adult language. Probably I wouldn't have even thought about either factor except someone had rated it as one star because it wasn't CLEAN enough. I really hate that term applied to books, unless someone if referring to the condition of the pages rather than the content. The setting is the UK at some near future point in time.

    Any way, the heroine, a woman who has completed her doctorate in history, is recruited by an old teacher who once at a pivotal moment in her life provided guidance, into a time travel project. There's lots of action and adventure as she has to cope not just with being sent back to dangerous time periods, but also with problems from the future.

    People who enjoy Connie Willis' time travel books or Kage Bakers novels of the Company might enjoy at least this first book. It's complete in itself although it is part of a series. It's also science fiction rather than romance.

    I would also point out that despite the enthusiasm of what I assume are fans, that Taylor hasn't yet reached the skill level of the other authors I have mentioned. If it were possible to give half stars I would give the story 3.5 stars. On at least two occasions the author dumps a load of information on the reader rather than feeding it bit by bit. Luckily the narrator, who I do not think I've encountered before, was able to wend her way through it. I'm not sure how I would have reacted had I been reading the print version at those points-- probably put it down for a while. But I'm sure I would have gone back because I've developed a bit of soft spot for the heroine.

    13 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • The Windermere Witness

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Rebecca Tope
    • Narrated By Julia Franklin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (6)

    Following a personal tragedy, florist Persimmon “Simmy” Brown has moved to the Lake District to be nearer her parents. But her peace is shattered when, at a wedding, the bride's brother is found brutally murdered. As the florist of the wedding and one of the last people to talk to Mark Baxter alive, Simmy gradually becomes involved with the relatives. When events take another sinister turn, Simmy finds herself at the heart of a murder investigation.

    Sires says: "3 1/2 Stars- I Was Impatient for the End to Come"
    "3 1/2 Stars- I Was Impatient for the End to Come"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Persimmon Petals is a florist shop in the Lake District owned by Persimmon "Simmy" Brown. She was named Persimmon by her hippy parents, who now run a B&B in the same area of Great Britain. She has just finished the floral arrangements for an important wedding when one of the groomsmen is discovered dead. The prime suspects are the members of the wedding and it seems that Simmy, although she does not know a great deal about the situation becomes a witness that both the police and the family turn to.

    Tope can write fascinating mysteries and she can also write long, rambling stories. This, unfortunately, is a long, rambling story. I did enjoy the character development. No one of the main characters is particularly likeable. I did at times want to smack Simmy for her cluelessness, but I am curious where the author is going to take the series. About 2/3 of the way through the book I wanted the end to come faster. I did think that some of the things that happened should have happened on screen rather than Simmy arriving after the action is over but in time for the explanation.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • It Happens in the Dark: A Mallory Novel, Book 11

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Carol O'Connell
    • Narrated By Barbara Rosenblat
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (58)
    Performance
    (50)
    Story
    (51)

    The reviews called it "A Play to Die For" after the woman was found dead in the front row. It didn't seem so funny the next night, when another body was found - this time the playwright's, his throat slashed.

    Detective Kathy Mallory takes over, but no matter what she asks, no one seems to be giving her a straight answer. The only person - if "person" is the right word - who seems to be clear is the ghostwriter. Every night, an unseen backstage hand chalks up line changes and messages on a blackboard. And the ghostwriter is now writing Mallory into the play itself, a play about a long-ago massacre that may not be at all fictional.

    Nancy J says: "Fascinating!"
    "Competent if You Are Already a Fan of the Series"
    Overall
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    Story

    Read by Barbara Rosenblat who does a good job although she sounds a bit old for the twenty something Mallory. However a lot of the story is told from the viewpoint of other characters which works out pretty well. No dispute, Rosenblat is a good narrator and her work on the Amelia Peabody novels would be hard to top.

    Back to this novel though. Kathy Mallory is brought in to investigate the death of the author of a Broadway play. In the Audience. At the end of the first Act. And then she finds that this is the second death during a performance of the play. But it appears that both deaths might have been natural. So Kathy has to work back toward the beginning and forward toward the conclusion.

    She also has an older case that is involved with the current mystery.

    Because I've liked Mallory ever since her first appearance in 1995. Therefore, it was easy enough to fill in the bits that the author doesn't really explain. Mallory seems less ambiguous and more annoying. The ghost writer starts out rather effectively but loses steam before the last revelation. Poor Charles is treated badly by both Mallory AND the author.

    So go with this one if you like the series, otherwise go back to the first book in the series and read forward.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Now You See Her [Blackstone]

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Cecelia Tishy
    • Narrated By Anna Fields
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (76)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    Regina Cutter is the mother of two grown children and the victim of her husband's midlife crisis. Out of a marriage, an income, and a place to live, she has relocated to Boston's Back Bay where her psychic aunt bequeathed her a townhouse...and some paranormal ability.

    Tina Hinrichs says: "very dissapointed!"
    "Book Lacks Focus Good Narration Though"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I bought this book because it was a whispersync deal at a good price and because it was narrated by the late Anna Fields who I had heard good things about.

    In the hands of a less skilled narrator I would have probably abandoned it in the middle when the story line seemed to lose focus.

    A Boston cold case detective consults with a psychic about the murder of a prominent Bostonian's son that he himself had investigated decades before. A man was arrested and convicted but there are doubts about his guilt. Meanwhile Reggie, the psychic, a divorced former corporate wife, is brought by a realtor to check out a house that the new owners thought was haunted.

    It felt like this was not the first book in the series but I checked on both Fantastic Fiction and Amazon and couldn't find a prior book-- there is a later one. While I have read books where the author deliberately made it seem that there had been prior books, this one made me feel a little off kilter. There was just too many loose ends like the person that Reggie was always waiting to hear from and the biker with whom she is co-parenting a beagle.

    I might pick up another book by this author if it was the right price or a loan but I wouldn't go checking for her books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • An Artificial Night: An October Daye Novel, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Seanan McGuire
    • Narrated By Mary Robinette Kowal
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (373)
    Performance
    (289)
    Story
    (287)

    Changeling knight in the court of the Duke of Shadowed Hills, October “Toby” Daye has survived numerous challenges that would destroy fae and mortal alike. Now Toby must take on a nightmarish new assignment. Someone is stealing both fae and mortal children — and all signs point to Blind Michael. When the young son of Toby’s closest friends is snatched from their Northern California home and his sister falls into a coma-like state, the situation becomes way too personal.

    Ellen says: "Misleading Description Book 2 / Book 3"
    "Third in Series and Quite Good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    By the time I'm writing this the October Daye series has reached at least 7 books so I'm a bit behind, or I've been reading them out of order, which is entirely possible. Except for some references that I had to look up, the book stands alone pretty well. I generally like Seanan McGuire's writing though and I thought this story about children, Fae and human being stolen from their beds is fresh and interesting.

    The story opens with October meeting her fetch-- the look alike who appears to someone before her death. The fetch is named May Daye which is painful given the fact that May is the opposite month from October and the use of May Day as code for a distress signal. Then the children of friends of her is stolen and Toby sets out to rescue them.

    While it's not the greatest Urban Fantasy I have ever read it is quite good and entertaining.

    Mary Robinette Kowal also does a good job with the narration. I found this an engrossing experience.



    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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